How the lamb fleeces for the rest of the flock are coming along.

Here’s some lamb pics from earlier this week.

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Clockwise from center, Dottie, Grey, Azula, Clovis and Brunhilde. Ripley is on the edge of the frame.

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Better shot of both Dottie and Brunhilde.

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In this picture are Dottie, Badgerface, Black N Tan, Zuko II, Brunhilde, Clovis and Katara. Goldie’s head is just out of the frame.

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This picture is here because Lisa is. Usually hard to get shots of her.

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Better angle to see the ram lambs.

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Azula and Sokka before we got him separated out. His fleece was recovering well enough to throw us off.

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One of the few shots I could get of Ripley’s amazing frosted fleece. She is hiding behind her momma Grey as she often do.

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Sokka and his sister Toph.

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This one is here because it’s another view of Ripley. That coloration is combined with a fluffy softness.

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One of the rare head on shots of Ripley. She is massive. If I wanted to take a chance on a one winter breeding, she’s definitely the one.

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Fast Fleecy update

It looks like I haven’t been posting much to this blog, but that’s because I’ve been updating the fleece sale page.  I am running out of whole fleeces, and will soon be posting raw fiber for sale by the ounce, probably by this weekend.  I am learning a lot about shipping costs, paypal fees and preparation of fleeces to send out to customers.

So anyway, that’s where the latest updates are.  The flock is fine, we still haven’t done breeding yet, but it doesn’t look like we had any accidental breeding either, so we’ll probably take care of that this week.  We have to delay eating the ram lambs until after Christmas unless we get an opportunity to slaughter after Thanksgiving, which is unlikely right now.

“I used the crook!”

My husband said that the other day after separating the ram lambs out.  There’s a trick to it that I can’t recall right now because I’m still enjoying postpartum sleep deprivation, but he figured out how to hook the legs so that the sheep stands still and lets itself be led to a new paddock.  This was fabulous news, as it means more flexibility in managing the flock.

We are going to Fiber Fusion this weekend.  I’d hoped to put up at least three fleeces for sale, but will probably just see if I get a bite for Shaft’s fall clip.  I don’t think I can have his and Bucky’s spring fleeces (which, being lamb fleeces, are still plenty spinnable and worth putting up for sale as whole raw fleeces) ready in time, but we’ll see.  There were some challenges with the drying, as the spring fleece was sheared and a bit dense with winter growth, so it was thicker than the tuftlike rooed wool I collected from them in winter.  Plus they have a bunch of straw stuck in them, large pieces and easy to remove, but more than I remembered being there when I shoved them in a mesh bag for long-term storage.

The fiber sales plan is to put out what I can at the festival, see if it sells, and for the rest process them for sale as raw locks/fleeces and possibly roving.  I am getting steadily better at combing into top (considered a form of roving, which is aligned wool fibers ready for spinning), but I have yet to comb out enough to make more than a few feet of yarn.  And roving is generally sold by the ounce, which is at least a yard of yarn for one piece of roving.  My efforts at combing top yield fractions of an ounce per bundle.

That’s all right now, I am too tired to type more today.

What we did today (Fall Shearing Day)

shaftfleeceSix pounds of Shaft’s unskirted Icelandic wool, fresh off the sheep.  We also got the other 12 sheared and hoof trimmed.  They have held up pretty well the last few weeks.

The shearer we used this time was a very professional guy from Concrete, Pierre Monnat.  He was careful with the sheep and did nice work.

I finished my own addition to the farm, a little boy who is growing ridiculously fast.

I’m still pretty tired, so that’s all for now.  But we do now have some raw fall fleeces.  They are softer than the spring clips and it will be interesting times preparing the best ones for sale.

 

Wet wool woes

We’re going through some rainy times and not really enough hours of dryness to leave wool outside to dry.  So I am going to start the process of washing up the spring wool and drying it all indoors, which I was hoping wouldn’t be my only option starting this early, but them’s the breaks of living in the Maritime Northwest.

Hopefully by next week I can start the combing out and see what I get.  I might get some usable roving, which would be some beginner’s luck, but it’s possible since what I’m starting with is actually in great shape for spring wool.

We don’t have a hay problem, we have a “never let your rams roam if you want to spare yourself a lot of VM picking” problem.  Which we solved with the power of cattle panels.  Ugly but so great at containing rambly rams.

I was hoping to try out advertising raw fleeces, but the shearer sheared in strips and that’s not what people looking for raw fleeces specifically expect.  It’s not a big deal, but it’s something to keep in mind as we have more fleece and more animals.  Spring fleeces are chancy to sell as it is.  The ones we have look ok, but they do have the wool break’s new growth in them, so that will have to be separated out.  If the fleeces are all they appear to be, this will happen after a little soaking in plain water.  Otherwise I have a lot of felting fleece to experiment with.

 

The shearer was able to make it after all.

So the ewes are sheared, the shearer did very well with them, they are nick and cut free and their fleeces are delightfully free of VM.  I was expecting much worse for the spring clips, but they look about ready to go straight to washing and combing out after they air a little.

And little Zuko is going to be a wether soon.  He took the procedure quite well, considering.

We’ve been working through colds the last week, and this current one is a bit of a doozy, so that’s all I’ve got right now.